Max Gresham started fourth in Saturday's Michigan National Guard 200 at the Michigan International Speedway, a personal best in his young NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) career. Gresham piloted the No.8 Sharp-Gallaher Racing Chevrolet to the fourth-fastest lap in qualifying at 39.293 seconds (183.239 mph). His previous best starting position was ninth.
While an 18th-place finish in the Michigan National Guard 200 was neither what he nor his Sharp-Gallaher Racing team had expected, the 20-year-old driver came away from the race with a positive outlook for the rest of the season.
"We are heading in the right direction. Our Sharp-Gallaher Racing team had a very fast AmWINS Group Chevrolet Silverado," Gresham said. "I messed up today and we had a little bad luck when we blew a tire during a caution period, but everyone on this Sharp-Gallaher Racing team kept working to get everything we could."
Gresham maintained his spot among the top five in the No. 8 AmWINS Group Chevrolet during the first 20 laps before he spun on Lap 26 coming off of Turn 4 and collected two other trucks. However, he sustained minor left-side damage and was able to get repairs and stay in contention in the top 15.
A few laps later under the yellow flag, a left-rear tire blew while he was running behind the pace car for a debris caution.
"We are making gains," crew chief Chris Showalter said. "Today was rough, but we take from this race a career-best qualifying effort for Max, as well as the way we fine-tuned it before the race, and the way we ran up front with the leaders.
"It is a learning process. We may have been 18th, but we have a lot of confidence and momentum."
The next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is the UNOH 200 at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, August 21.
The UNOH 200 will be Gresham's first start at the iconic half-mile short track.
"Bristol is the coliseum for stock car racing," Gresham said. "I can't wait. We keep setting personal bests just about every week. We can't go much higher unless we win a pole award or win a race. As long as we keep improving every week, a pole and a win will come. We just need to keep doing what we're doing."